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Trump calls U.S. coronavirus case spike a media ‘conspiracy’

U.S. President Donald Trump is repeating the false claim that coronavirus cases in the country are up solely because of increased testing, calling the reported rise a “conspiracy.”

“Cases are up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

“Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9 per cent. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high.”

He went on to say that after the November election, the “topic will totally change,” adding in a subsequent tweet that “The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!”

As of the morning of Oct. 26, there have been more than 8,600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., as well as over 225,000 deaths, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.

Just two days earlier, the country shattered its own record, recording more than 84,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day.

It’s far from the first time the claim has been made by Trump, who was infected with the virus just weeks ago.

During his recent interview with 60 Minutes, Trump claimed that coronavirus cases are rising simply “because we’re doing so much testing.”

“If we didn’t do testing, cases would be way down,” he said in the extended footage.

Trump also touted this claim during previous spikes in cases in the U.S.

While the number of daily tests conducted in the U.S. — and other countries seeing jumps — has risen, experts agree there has, in fact, been an increase in the actual spread of the virus.

Increased testing will inevitably find more cases, however, there are other indicators, including hospitalizations and the number of tests coming back positive — both of which have been rising in the U.S. — that indicate that the spread of the virus is up.

Deaths often lag a spike in cases, but those have started to rise again, too.

University of Washington researchers have forecast that the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could reach 500,000 by February.

— with files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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